Wicklow Disability & Inclusion Steering Committee (DISC)
In 2020, Wicklow County Council established a Disability & Inclusion Steering Committee (DISC). The purpose of the committee is to achieve a multi-departmental approach to making the services provided by Wicklow County Council accessible to all.
The committee aims to:
- Promote disability inclusion and the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in Wicklow County Council
- Ensure that disabled people and their supporters are facilitated to participate and have their voice heard
- Influence Wicklow County Council and local communities to become more aware of, and responsive to the needs of people with disabilities.
The Director of Services of the Community, Cultural and Social Development Department chairs the Steering Committee. Crucially, people with a variety of disabilities, from across the county, family carers and the staff of local disability services, are represented on the committee. DISC also includes elected representatives from each Municipal District and representatives from:
- Wicklow Public Participation Network (Helen Howes is the PPN Rep on this Committee)
- County Wicklow Partnership and Bray Area Partnership
- Wicklow Tourism
- Age Friendly Wicklow
- Wicklow Children and Young People’s Services Committee; and
- The Social Inclusion Disability Officer from the Local Sports Partnership
Committee Co-ordinator: Laura O’Callaghan
Wicklow County Council have linked in with the Disability Federation Ireland to provide a Community Development Worker (Laura O’Callaghan) for three days per week. Laura’s role is to support the council to respond to the needs of people with disabilities in County Wicklow and help them to proactively engage with implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) at local level.
Laura’s role involves working with all departments within the council and with other existing local groups and services and disability organisations.
Wicklow Disability & Inclusion Strategy
Wicklow’s first ever Disability and Inclusion Strategy was launched on Friday 20 October 2023. Wicklow County Council’s Disability and Inclusion Steering Committee have been working towards this launch since their committee was established in 2020.
The Strategy outlines how Wicklow County Council and other community stakeholders will work to make Wicklow a more accessible and inclusive county, over the next five years, is available here. A toolkit is also available.
Emer O’Gorman, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council said, “The strategy reflects the council’s strong commitment to working with disabled people and their families. The number of people with a disability in County Wicklow has increased from 13.5 per cent of the population in 2016 to 23 per cent in the most recent 2022 census. The statistics show that disability impacts every community across our county, and we need our services and public spaces to reflect that”.
Wicklow Disability Access & Inclusion Toolkit for Community Groups
Co. Wicklow PPN were proud, as part of the Wicklow Disability & Inclusion Committee, to launch the Wicklow Disability Access and Inclusion Toolkit for Community Groups on Friday 2nd December in the Arklow Bay Hotel.
The toolkit offers practical advice for groups and clubs to help them make their facilities and meeting spaces as accessible as possible. It also provides tips for groups in relation to making their communications accessible. Information is also provided on how to plan for inclusiveness in the operations of the group, including the management of the group, and in planning for activities, events and outings.
Picture: Members of the Wicklow County Council Disability & Inclusion Steering Committee with Stevens Matthews TD.